The meeting was called to order at 12:40 pm by President Chuck Mott. The agenda was approved with the addition of four items:
The meeting minutes for July and August were approved with two corrections: The July meeting convened at 10:05 am (not pm); and the topic of Lloyd Flem's Railway Age article was incorrectly noted.
The Treasurer's report showed a decrease in membership.Upcoming meetings:
Excepts from Executive Director Lloyd Flem's Legislative report: The original ISTEA (Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act) gave states some power to choose how to allocate federal transportation funds, but it excluded rail from those funds. As ISTEA is undergoing re-authorization, legislators must be reminded to correct that exclusion: states need the ability to choose to allocate funds to a balanced spectrum of transportation options, including rail.
Authorization for Amtrak is currently under debate, requiring letters to Representatives and the President to show strong support and forestall veto.
Amtrak's Mark Cain has resigned. Lee Bullock is the Chief Executive Officer for intercity Rail, pro-tem. Amtrak Express business, "Green Cars" is rolling, with expanded equipment purchases.
Forty or so Legislators took the train to Vancouver for an August 22nd Port inspection, benefitting from an education about rail issues along the way. While our legislators showed positive interest in this transportation alternative, Canada's provincial and national governments continue to stonewall and improvements to Amtrak's running times, leading WashARP to the conclusion that partnership with private business or local cities are the only likely routes to success.
ALT-TRANS tactics may become more cooperative after a recent brainstorming session showed the dangers inherent in any perceived "split" between bicycle and transit proponents: Senator Prince has already shown interest in dividing and Conquering.
British Columbia Alderman, Gordon Price offered this highlight in the Public Transportation and Rail Conference in Spokane, characterizing the "implied contract between the private sector. which will build an infinite number of cars, and the public sector, which must supply infinite space to run them." In the re-examination of that "contract" lies the beginning of a solution to transportation policy gridlock.Election of Board of Directors process outlined:
Resolution proposed: Creation of Membership Sections based on interest areas with dues fees payable in addition to basic general membership fee (full text on file):Section 1: General Membership in WashARP, [standard dues fee]
Resolution proposed: Creation of officer position to be titled Vice President-Transit. This position would emphasize, advocate and provide leadership on regional transit issues (Adoption of this resolution to be considered at October meeting.)
Resolution proposed: WashARP Supports the restoration of passenger rail service from Seattle to Eastern Washington via the Pasco rail line. Discussion focussed on variety of possible endpoints. Resolution passed unanimously.
Commuter/Passenger Rail Coalition merge proposal snagged on different visions of how to ensure a smooth working relationship. After discussion of the advantages to each group from a possible merger, and the likely costs. President Chuck Mott was directed to write a counter-proposal letter to CPRC Chair Rob Morrison indicating our needs in such a merge and our willingness to cooperate as separate groups should this merge proposal not meet the CRPC's needs. The letter is to be reviewed by two members of the Executive Committee before transmittal.Announcements:
Ritzville, Washington will hold a public hearing re: proposed lifting speed restrictions for trains.
Washington State Department of Transportation Rail Office will hold the next round of public comment meetings on the Environmental impact Statement for the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor (Washington State only) in communities throughout the region.
The meeting adjourned at 3:30 pm.
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